History/Politics Ph.D.

<p>Hi, I'm a sophomore in college, and right now I'm an economics major. In short, I hate it. But, I've taken two political science classes and I love them, I've gotten A's in them both. I want to get a Ph.D. in political science or economics, but I have three questions:</p>

<p>A) What is the use of a degree in political science or history? Are there plenty of positions open in these fields? </p>

<p>B) Do I have an OK chance for top ten schools? I have around a 3.7 GPA at a top three national school (at least by US News), and my EC's are so-so. If I switch to a polisci major, I will enjoy it more, so my GPA will go up to around 3.8 maybe? But should I stick with econ now since my GPA has been pulled down by courses in that?</p>

<p>C) What can I do to improve my chances of getting into HYPS UChic History or Polisci programs? If I don't major in history, can I still somehow get into History Ph.D. Programs? </p>


<p>Hi Ivy,
I will try to give you some answers, which are based on what my S is going through now. He will be graduating from a "top" college in June, was a political science major, and applied to 8 poli. sci Ph.D programs. Many people who go on to Ph.D programs in poli. sci or history plan to stay in academia and teach on the college level. Others go into government work, think tanks, other private sector jobs. Clearly, there is a limit as to how many teaching jobs there are.</p>

<p>My S has a very high GPA for his particular institution and stellar GRE scores (although I don't think that GRE's are weighted highly in the scheme of things). What's very important in grad school admissions are your letters of recommendation from professors as well as the "Statement of Purpose" you write for each school you are applying to. The Statement of Purpose outlines what you plan to do at the particular graduate school, which professor you would like to work with, etc. Many people work for a while before applying to graduate school, getting relevant experience in their field. It can be a big boost to an application.</p>

<p>It is important to "cultivate" your relationships with professors so that you can be assured of receiving the best recommendation letters possible.</p>

<p>All this being said, it is extremely difficult to get into the top grad school programs in poli. sci. There may be literally hundreds and hundreds of applications for an enrolling class of 10-20 students. Grad school is as expensive as an expensive private college, so unless you are independently wealthy, you would look to receive full funding (tuition plus stipend for living expenses) from any program to which you apply. I am sure that it is equally difficult to get into top econ and history Ph.D programs. But, you certainly seem to have a good start with a great GPA. Since you are only a sophomore, have you even declared a major yet? Go with what you love to learn!</p>

<p>Some political science PhDs work in government positions, ranging from the CIA to various state and federal departments. I've also known people who worked for private companies as consultants or employees; for instance, one studied politics of China and works for a US auto company.</p>

<p>Regarding $ -- There are excellent PhD programs which offer significant aid, sometimes in the form of positions as research assistants. These do not take up too much time and serve as part of professional training and mentoring.</p>

<p>To amplify what momfromme said, the top graduate school programs would offer full funding with your acceptance which would indicate that they would be very happy to have you join their department. ;)</p>